Keep turning…keep turning…keep turning…one more page, just a couple more… and you will have finally reached the obituaries of the daily newspaper.
Here you’ll find your one stop shop on the latest deaths, but also the achievements of fine female athletes. It’s all there, if you look close and hard enough; it’s as obvious as fineprint and is as lively as the obituary itself. I, like many others, thought we would have overcome the gender hurdle by 2016, but female athletes are about as equal to their male counterparts, as home brand chocolate is to Lindt.
Who can forget that heart stopping moment when Sally Pearson crossed the finish line on the track to her Olympic gold, and that sense of pride we felt sharing gold with Anna Meares, or the silver with Jessica Fox at the 2012 Olympic Games? These might sit at the back of our minds, but we’re more likely to remember Victoria Azarenka’s 2013 Australian Open semi final drama that made more extravagant headlines than victor Li Na. Rest assured, the next day was the men’s final and Novak Djokovic managed to swoop the front and back pages of most newspapers.
At the last Olympics, our Opals team had to fly in Economy to London when their male counterparts were provided with Business Class. To add the icing on this toppling cake, we had sports stars like David Campese claiming a ‘girl’ shouldn’t be writing about Rugby.
In 2011, writer Patrick Smith shared his beliefs in The Australian stating, ‘Over the past 72 hours Australia has won the netball championship of the world. The Matildas reached the quarter-finals of the soccer World Cup, losing 1-3 to Sweden. Included in that performance was a goal from Ellyse Perry, who also represents her country at cricket. Any male who could do that would be Governor-General on retirement.’
Despite the women’s cricket team earning a pay rise in 2013, they only played their first Big Bash League in 2015- ten years after the male team first played their KFC Twenty20 Big Bash. Perhaps the ‘Big Bash League’ was a little too masculine sounding for it to be played by women.
When we can be hearing about the next match of the ANZ Netball Championship, we are instead forced to read about what one writer calls; “the state of some footballer who is in doubt for some inconsequential weekend competition because of an ailing ankle or a nobly, wobbly knee.” But what is netball anyway? The sport has a reputation along the lines of; “like basketball, but you can’t move.” More importantly, it is the most populous female sport in the country. The Australian Netball Diamonds are ranked first in the world and have won 11 Netball World Cup titles. But who’s to know, since the sport struggled to gain coverage after Network Ten’s termination of their contract with Netball Australia in 2012? Thanks to Fox Sports, netball games are finally televised live, but less than 30% of the Australian population were subscribed to paid television when that deal was announced.
It was not until 2009 that track Cycling introduced even prize money for men and women. Previously, cycling world championships gold was worth less in prize money to a world championship men’s bronze medal. So much for a fair go.
Women’s sports are more competitive than they have ever been. Hopefully, one day we will only have to turn one page to find out the latest victories of our female athletes, instead of searching through countless pages of punters bets, the obituary, and facing the news of some footballer who is in doubt for some inconsequential weekend competition because of an ailing ankle, or a nobly, wobbly knee. The 2016 Olympics are only a few months away- this is the perfect opportunity for people to stop looking at gender traits and just appreciate the sporting battles for the context they represent.
Rima Dabliz, 19, is a blogger studying B Communication majoring in journalism/ B Laws at UTS. She is a keen fundraiser for the International Women’s Development Agency and the Cancer Council. Her occupational goal is to work as a criminal defence lawyer whilst maintaining her passion for writing about the world and aims to develop an online youth magazine made by young Muslims, for young Muslims, about young Muslims.